I’ve got Belgian chocolate feeling lonely in the cupboard and Gaby has requested chocolate cake. Time to pay in the kitchen.
There is a great series out of Australia called The Gourmet Farmer, by Matthew Evans.
I used crème fraîche instead of sour cream and used a 20cm springform cake tin, because that is the closest size I could find in the kitchen. The dark chocolate was a Belgian dark chocolate with 54% cocoa.
A Very Good, Very Chocolaty Chocolate Cake
125g butter, softened
150g brown sugar (soft)
1 tsp vanilla extract (use the good stuff, it makes a difference)
100g dark chocolate, melted (at least 50% cocoa)
100g sour cream
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
100g self-raising flour
125g almond meal
100mls whipping cream
250g chocolate, broken into small bits (at least 50% cocoa)
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 22cm springform cake tin or similar.
Cream the butter and sugar with the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at time. If the mix looks a bit curdled, don’t worry, it isn’t; it’ll come back together when we add the flour, if not before. Beat in the chocolate, then the sour cream until just combined. Fold in the sifted cocoa and flour and then the almond meal. Scrape into the cake tin and smooth the top a bit. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Ice with the ganache (see below).
Heat the cream in a small saucepan and when it comes to the boil, whisk in the chocolate, returning to the heat if necessary to melt it. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Allow to set just enough to be able to spread over the cake.
Time for more pastry!
Yesterday I made a quantity of salted pastry and let it rest in the fridge overnight. Today, I rolled out the pastry and lined 8 tart rings, then let them rest in the fridge for 30 minutes whilst the oven heated to 190C.
After 20 minutes in the oven, I pulled off the beads and brushed the inside of the pastry cases with egg wash, then baked them for an additional 8 minutes.
I made a simple chocolate ganache filling by melting equal portions by weight of Belgian chocolate in simmering cream. These look good enough to eat.
I have some cream left over. I think I will serve these topped with whipped cream. Oh, that reminds me… I spotted clotted cream at the store the other day – need to pick up a pottle, I think.
I have already been thinking of what pastry to bake next. I suppose you will just have to wait for it.
There was Belgian chocolate in the pantry. It looked lonely. There was only one thing to do: make it happy! How about chocolate pastry?
As it turns out, I just happened to have a measure of home made salted pastry in fridge. I used the salted pastry recipe from Richard Bertinet’s new book Pastry. I do not have fluted tartlet molds. No drama, as I do have 100mm stainless steel egg rings. Perfect. I will use the egg rings as tart rings for today.
I rolled out the pastry and lined the rings. I filled the rings with baking beads and let the pastry rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, whilst the oven heated. I baked the shells for about 20 minutes at 190C in my oven, until the edges of the pastry started to brown.
I pulled the beans from the pastry. Oops! I forgot to put the pastry shells back in the oven to finish baking. Oh, well. The pastry still turned out nice and flaky. I let the pastry cool and got started on the filling.
For the filling, I made a chocolate ganache with equal weights of chocolate and cream. I was not sure just how much filling I would need. I suppose I could work out the volume for a cylinder…
Let’s see… V = π * r^2 * h, so Volume = 3.14 * (100mm diameter – 8 mm for the pastry = 92mm. Radius = 46mm^2) * (20mm – 4mm for pastry = 16mm). Volume for each pastry case = ~106,000mm^3 = ~0.106 Litres * 6 shells = 0.636 Litres of ganache, ignoring irregularities in pastry thickness and shrinkage of the pastry…
I couldn’t be bothered. I used 225g of chocolate and 225g of cream. I figured there would at least be enough to fill the pastry shells. I would not mind too much if I ended up with more ganache than was strictly required…
Once the ganache was thoroughly blended, I filled the shells. I had just enough ganache to completely fill all the cases. Bummer! I was hoping for a bit extra so I could fill a ramekin for the chef… I let the tartlets cool until the ganache is set.
Dessert is ready!